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Hardball With Chris Matthews

News/Business. (2012) (CC)

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America 14, Connecticut 10, Us 7, Adam Lanza 5, Nancy Lanza 4, Boehner 4, Nra 4, Chuck 4, John Boehner 3, Chuck Todd 3, Washington 3, New York City 3, Obama 2, John Larson 2, Larry Pratt 2, New York 2, Nbc 2, Newtown 2, Chris Cillizza 2, Philadelphia 2,
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  MSNBC    Hardball With Chris Matthews    News/Business.  (2012)  (CC)  

    December 17, 2012
    11:00 - 12:00am PST  

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it. go ahead, say nothing can be done. i want to hear an american elected official tonight or any night say what happened on friday in newtown, connecticut, is just part of living in the free society of america. chuck todd is nbc's chief white house correspondent and political director, and chris cillizza is managing editor of postpolitics.com. gentlemen, i know we all saw this. this is what we used to call the topic sentence. i think this was the most telling, action-oriented piece of what the president said last night up in connecticut. let's listen to it now. >> in the coming weeks, i will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. because what choice do we have? we can't accept events like this as routine. are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage?
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that the politics are too hard? are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom? >> chuck todd, you know, gun control was probably not in many politicians' songbook going into this coming year, but now it is. reality, reality checks, reality bites. do you think the president has given any sign he will do something about gun safety in this next term? >> well, if he wants to -- that speech was a powerful speech, it was galvanizing, it was remorseful, it mourned those precious little kids that were lost, but it's that galvanizing part, and if he's going to make that speech live in history pretty high up in his presidency, then he has to. i mean, he's all but pledged saying he's going to tackle this. the question is how do you do it?
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how do you navigate the politics of this? it's not easy. he himself acknowledged there's not one answer, but he also said that doesn't mean you don't try. so, look, they're still trying to put this together here. they're not going to say they have an exact idea of what this is going to look like. it could be a commission. how do you engage the nra? do you try to bring them into the conversation? >> yeah. >> along with hollywood, along with the law enforcement, along with educators. do you try to have one of those types of conversations at first just to sort of see if there's any common ground here? and then where do you go? i think honestly they're still in the beginning stages of this and of trying to figure it out. but i think that he seemed -- if he wants that speech to mean anything, he has to do something real. >> you know, climate change, we can argue all the time about whether it's manmade, but this is manmade, guns. this is a unique culture. i love so much about america. the freedom, the individualism, the cowboy attitude, but why is
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it legal to own a gun? anybody can buy one, a semiautomatic, call it what you want. the bottom line is you can pull the trigger and the bullets keep pumping out. any imbecile can do it. society decided that was considered carrying a musket. that was just like a guy that took ten minutes to load up a musket. part of a militia. so a bunch of guys together could defend their community. that's been transformed to anybody can own a fricking bazooka and walk around. >> it has become tied up with this idea of land of the free. that we have the right to do these things. now, i would say, you mention in the ammunition used in this shooting was one of these high round ammunitions. from 19 -- >> and also explosive bullets. >> from 1994 to 2004, those sorts -- anything that carried
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more than ten rounds was banned under the assault weapons act. the question is what does a comprehensive plan look like? chuck is right, the president -- you can't give a speech like that and then just say, okay, fiscal cliff or just move -- he has to do something. the question is does he do something around these high round ammunition holders? does he include something about mental health in there? sentencing? is it an attempt to be a more comprehensive approach that some folks who -- the michael bloombergs will not be happy with. they don't want -- they want gun control, not sort of this broad mental health, sentencing, and a little bit on ammunition, but that, to chuck's point, chris, may be what's able to get through. >> i really want to get to your strengths here. both of you guys are obama watchers. you got a closer look at him. i think, chuck, you really do because you're with his people all day, you have great sources. have you been able to measure how deep that emotion that we see on the president's face, the tears he had to fight back last friday, is he willing to say i
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was going to do immigration, i think i will push that back six months. i know i got the iranian threat, the nuclear threat, i have to deal with that, that's front burner, but i have to jam this baby into my agenda. did you have a sense he's willing to go for gun control as part of his legacy as i think you suggested. >> first of all, yes, i do believe he believes this has got to become a priority. jay carney today, for what it's worth, was fighting back. he's not going to order what his priorities are, but, no, the bottom line is this is a window. you know you only have a finite window sometimes when there are policy fights that are sort of thrown at your doorstep whether you wanted it or not, and you have to deal with it. so i think he knows this is something he has to tackle early, first six months type of thing next year kind of early. so, no, i sense that. but the problem is what is it? and i go -- you know, the issue with guns, chris, and i hear what you're saying, but this -- you want to understand the
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divide between rural america and suburban and urban america, it is this issue of guns. it's not a policy. it turns never into a policy debate. as chris hinted at, this turns into an ideological and then people lose their sort of -- they lose their -- they lose their grounding in this, and it becomes an irrational back and forth on guns. you cannot have -- nobody will have this sort of, well, geez, we're having somebody come on planes, let's start more security. people will rationally have, oh, yeah, we need to have more security going on airplanes. they will have a rational conversation about that. it is hard to get the two sides on the gun debate to have this rational -- for some reason finding a rational middle ground has been impossible to have in the gun issue, and, frankly, as a parent, i find it very frustrating and disturbing to watch. it's like why -- i get it. i get it. i get it rural -- i get the culture.
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you can't tell me there's not a middle ground. >> if we could go -- the people who are concerned about safety, chris, and the people are concerned about reasonable american life. is it a threat, a real threat, to the gun owner, not just the gun owner who believes in hunting. that's the easy part. hunters go don't with these kind of rifles. the second amendment person who believes they face a threat down the road from the government. how do you talk to that person and say, you know, the kind of caliber weapon you have is not going to make much difference in terms of your personal ability to resist the government at some point. they will say it does matter. i want to have a multiround, i want to have a semiautomatic to defend myself against the government when it comes and that sort of ideological reality which is connected with the tea party and all the guys who had to come to all the rallies, they had to bring guns to the rallies. this is tied into ideology, not just hunting licenses. >> the nra gets, i think -- the nra spends the most money on the one side of the issue, so they get credit/blame, depending where you come down on all this.
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but somehow the debate -- chuck's point about the frustration with the lack of any middle ground possible -- >> when charlton heston said you're going to have to take this gun out of my cold, dead hand. that's not a compromising position. >> and that's the problem, chris. it's become this slippery slope argument, which is any -- >> i hate that phrase. >> i hate the slippery slope. >> okay. let's say assault weapons or these high caliber -- these high pack rounds, if they do that, what will they do next? >> find a way. let's be honest about it. can we be honest about it? >> you can't have a discussion -- >> you know what the problem is? there is a sliver of american people who are anti-gun. they would like to go around the country and collect every gun. let's be honest, they are there, they live in big cities, in apartments, they think the police will be there to protect them. then you live out in kansas, out someplace out in the country, and you know the police won't be there for a half hour no matter how hard you yell, how many 911s
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you call. you do have to defend yourself, right? >> absolutely. >> they have attitudes. it is country mouse versus city mouse. bloomberg, who i really respect, the mayor of new york, says something, i'm sure the guy in reading, pennsylvania, says okay, big east coaster, tell me how to live. >> he is the wrong person, the absolutely wrong person to be the face of the gun control movement. it really is because of just what you're pointing out. what does that guy in new york city -- and this is where if you have this conversation -- if you lived in new york city, you understand his mindset of not wanting 9 million people armed. >> yeah. >> on new york city. but if what you just pointed out about living in rural america, whether it's kansas, arkansas, you name it, it's different. you're right. you know, i know of incidents where it takes authorities half an hour to come and show up someplace, so, of course, you have got to defend yourself. >> they come and put the chalk around the body. in all fairness, when it sounds like i'm a big anti-hunter guy,
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i like to trap shoot and all that. here is the thing, i had my kid with a daisy rifle because i thought it would be one thing to do, shoot at milk bottles. i'm not against guns, but the important, weird thing about this, chris, you first, the men out there -- my uncle bill, these people are members of gun clubs. my brother bruce, they pack their own bullet, they would never commit a crime and they would never hurt anybody, but their ideological conviction on this, this slippery slope idea protects some of the bad people out there and allows the nutty people to get guns. >> and that's the problem. i have an uncle who is in a fish and gaming club in connecticut close to newtown. he does it because it's social -- >> and they're harmless people. >> he likes to go out, have a few beers, and talk to his buddies. >> it's like bowling. >> playing basketball for me. it's cultural. but we have to get beyond it. chuck is right, the idea that it's either we take every gun away or we do nothing to restrict this, the idea we can't
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have a reasonable debate in this country where there's -- >> manchin may have started this morning saying he's -- chuck, you said this conversation isn't going anywhere unless it includes the second amendment concerned people. >> i think you have to have them involved. not only that, i do think we got -- you know, we go to the whole common sense question about, you know, should somebody be able to shoot off 30 rounds in 10 seconds, whatever it is, but we got to have the cultural conversation. we got to have this culture of violence. i think the nra is more likely to come to the table if you have hollywood there, the video gamemakers, and, by the way, parents have to wake up here. if your kid for three hours is disappearing in the basement doing nothing but playing halo, you may want to make sure your kid doesn't have a problem. >> well-said. every time i go to the movies, there will be six previews, one unbelievably worse than the other.
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i don't minds the cars turning upside down, but the shooting. thank you, chuck todd. thank you, chris cillizza. coming up, president obama promised action, but what can washington do to tackle the unholy trinity of guns, mental illness, and the culture of violence. we will get to the latest on the investigation in connecticut and what may have driven this gunman to such violent and deadly action. if there's a motive that makes any sense. and president obama and house speaker john boehner met again, and there's renewed optimism on the fiscal cliff negotiations. do you believe it? optimism? we can use that for christmas. let me finish with why i'm hopeful, really am, about the fiscal cliff. , this, of course, is "hardball," the place for politics. in what world do potatoes, bacon and cheese add up to 100 calories? your world. ♪ [ whispers ] real bacon... creamy cheese... 100 calories... [ chef ] ma'am [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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you're looking at pictures from fairfield, connecticut, of course, where mourners have gathered for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the newtown school shooting, of course.
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as the country mourns the loss of 26 lives lost at sandy hook elementary school last friday, the conversation moves to washington, of course, and what can be done. here i am, and it's the question of what can be done to prevent this unholy trinity of factors. guns, obviously. these are semiautomatics. mental illness, the guy was mentally ill apparently. and the whole culture of violence and video games, especially where you can get hooked on this relentless shooting and killing in terms of virtual reality becomes in some horrible cases with reality. with me are connecticut congressman john larson and former arkansas senator blanche lincoln. i'm very impressed by the way governor malloy has been handling this and all you fellows and women. >> outstanding. >> what is your sense of how it fits together and what you as a lawmaker -- you're a leader of the caucus and a leader in the house. when you put it all together, this isn't just -- this is like john hinckley who wanted to do something to impress jodie
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foster. you know, we've had political assassins who have done terrible things for the middle east like sirhan sirhan or lee harvey oswald did it because he's in love with castro. there's all kinds of motives, but then you get into the mentally ill people who are moved by the things your kids or my kids might say they rough you up, but they don't really change you, like video games. how do we put it together and do something as americans? >> well, i think it's a must, and let me say, chris, that you're right, both governor malloy has been outstanding, the first responders, the community. the support from all across the nation, the calls that are coming in for members. something has changed here. the slaughter of the innocents and the frailty of these kids. the poignancy of it all i think is resonating in a way that usually doesn't inside the
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beltway, and i think you're right that it has to be a comprehensive approach that certainly includes guns and mental health and violence, and there's no shortage of responses that we have. the president's call, and he was both solemn but also very committed last night in speaking both as a father first and also as the leader of our country. i do expect that we're going to see leadership from him, but leadership has to come from the united states congress as well, and for us not to act, because we all know that this will happen again, and so not to act is to be complicit in the next thing that happens, and it's going to require comprehensive support, and we should include the nra in this discussion and we should include in a discussion the whole idea of the culture. i'm sure blanche can add an awful lot to that coming from
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arkansas, but clearly in connecticut we're hurting, but as the president said last night, we're inspired by these people there. now, let's take that inspiration and actually do something. the article today in "the washington post," you know, this is -- >> quickly, we've got to move. let me go to the senator. it seems to me the country, i don't want to involve the city mouse/country mouse stuff, i want to figure out what we have in common here. arkansas, every state, once you get out of the state, once you get past philadelphia into reading, pennsylvania, it's the west. you have to go all the way to seattle to get to something like the east coast again. the heartland of america is gun country. it's pro-gun rights, it's second amendment country. not just for hunting. the right to protect yourself against your government if you have to do it. you represent a state like that. how could a state like arkansas see its way to something like gun safety when it comes to semiautomatics? >> first and foremost, chris, i have to say to the people of
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connecticut and to those families that have suffered such a tremendous tragedy that we have them in our thoughts and prayers, and i think that's where we start. i think all of us, whether we're in the heartland or on one coast or the other, we need to coalesce around that. we need to coalesce around our feelings, our thoughts, our prayers for those who have suffered this tragedy. and then as we do that, we find our common ground, and it has to be coming together, but it's got to be coming together with trust and respect, not from two extremes. it's got to be coming -- >> only in america many things are possible, and they're all good. but some things in america it's only in america. they don't have shoot 'em ups like this around the world. they don't have people with easy access to semiautomatic weapons, click, click, click, that can kill 26 people in ten minutes. what do we do about our american situation? these are problems man made in this country. laws that were passed by men. should they be changed? >> just as the president said,
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we have got to begin the conversation, and the conversation begins around a table with everyone there. i did go back to arkansas and run for re-election in 1994 having voted for the ban on assault weapons, and i got hit pretty hard, but one of the ways -- >> what's the knock against you for doing it? what's it sound like? >> well, it sounds like i'm trying to take away weapons or guns from, you know, those who want -- >> why do they need semiautomatics to do hunting? what do they need it for? >> the point was when i went home, i went to the nra meetings, and i visited -- there's some people there that didn't want to listen, but there were those who did, and when i talked about what it was we were doing, simply banning the domestic production of these weapons, they could still own them and sell them, they could still purchase one, they just couldn't purchase a new one because we were banning the domestic production. we had already banned importation of them under bush one. so, you know, there are reasonable people there, and
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when you go to them with the trust and respect to have a conversation, then, you know, i have worked with nra -- >> you are courageous in voting for it. >> let's listen to joe manchin, an nra member. he told joe scarborough why he thinks we ought to talk about this. >> never before have we seen our babies slaughtered. it's never happened in america that i can recall, ever seeing this type of carnage. anybody, anybody that lives in america, anybody that's a proud gun owner, anybody that's a proud member of the nra, they're also proud parents, proud grandparents, they understand. this has changed where we go from here. i'm going to speak to all my colleagues. i'm going to reach out to all of my friends at the nra. i'll go over and sit down with them and say how can we take the dialogue to a different level? how can we sit down and make sure we're moving and not be afraid that someone is going to
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attack our freedoms and our rights. >> let me go back to mr. larson. this is a real trouble here because it always goes back to freedom and the fact we love this freedom we feel. adlai stevenson once said freedom in this country is something you can actually feel. it just feels great, the sense of being a grown-up and being able to go out and get in the car and go -- going anywhere you want in this country. there's so much freedom we don't even know how to think about it, it's like swimming in an ocean, and then we realize some people because of mental problems or because they're bad guys or they want to make more money than they should, are committing crimes or blowing up people because they're mad at the world or mad at their mother. i guess once you shoot your mother, the rest is different, there's a different world out there. you can't say a deterrent is going to work. you can't say to the guy you're going to the gas chamber. he's going to kill his mother, he doesn't care about the gas chamber or anything. so what do we do? >> we know certainly that doing nothing doesn't work either, and we only continue this whole culture of violence. you know, chris, the president was clear on this, too, and it's
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something that should be mentioned, and you know this because you know philadelphia and pittsburgh so well and the east coast. every day almost in our cities and areas, kids are involved in drive-by shootings, innocent kids, but it doesn't get reported, doesn't get magnified like this does, and it's important that we bring that to the forefront as well. that kind of always gets swept under the carpet in all of this. but when you get people like mike thompson calling me, a vietnam veteran, a gun owner, and someone, as blanche said, who wants to start this conversation with all the sportsmen's alliance, how about
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all of our veterans, bringing them into the conversation. >> absolutely. >> especially those who are overseas and understand what it's like and have seen the carnage firsthand and knows the lethality of these weapons and why this is so important. i think we can have a common sense dialogue about this and come together and do something for the sake of kids. if this were a terrorist attack, chris, we would not leave a single stone unturned to do everything in our power comprehensively to prevent this from happening again. that's got to happen. >> my question is, it's not very liberal a statement, how do we know it won't happen again five minutes from now? what do we know? same guy shows up with the same amount of firepower, three semiautomatic weapons, hundreds and hundreds of bullets. he walks in the door and shoots whoever is in the way, heads towards the kids and starts shooting until the cops arrive. what stops that happening anywhere? thank you, congressman. merry christmas my friend, john larson, in connecticut, and i'm sorry for what happened. blanche lincoln, i have always loved you. up next, what we're learning about the connecticut shooter himself. let's get to mike isikoff, the investigative reporter from nbc, and find out what possibly
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back to "hardball." as we continue to learn more about the horrific shooting at sandy hook elementary school in connecticut, we continue to have questions about 20-year-old adam lanza and what happened in the weeks, days, and hours before the tragedy began to unfold. we will begin with the sequence of events as we know them from police. sometime before 9:30 this past friday morning, the suspect, 20-year-old adam lanza, drove to his mother's home in newtown, connecticut. at that point police say he shot and killed his mother, nancy lanza, before taking four guns from her home. one of which was a bushmaster semiautomatic assault rifle. police say adam lanza drove to sandy hook elementary school arriving around 9:30. unable to gain entry through the main entry, he broke through a window, and that's when police
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say his shooting rampage began. in total 20 children were killed as well as 6 adults. there were also two surviving adult victims. police say adam lanza turned a gun on himself when he heard and first saw the responders coming onto the scene. three guns were recovered from inside the school. there they are. one handgun was left in lanza's car. we're joined by nbc national investigative correspondent michael isikoff in newtown, connecticut. michael, thanks so much for joining us. we've only got about three minutes for your presentation, so run through what you think is salient, what you have been able to put together about the motive and the method of this killer. >> well, first of all, chris, about motive, we are still clueless. he didn't have any connection to the school at all. he may have gone there as a child. in fact, he probably did according to friends, but he didn't work there, he had no association with people there, so that doesn't seem to go anywhere.
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his mother we know didn't work there either and had no current affiliation with the school. we do know that nancy lanza was worried about her son. he was a recluse, he stayed at home, spent hours in front of the computer. she was trying to help him get a job, trying to help him get an internship someplace. but doesn't seem to have succeeded. in fact, there's no real record of him doing anything other than taking a few college courses since he graduated high school. spoke to one friend today who said through nancy lanza's help, intervention, she got her son to help a friend set up a computer system at home, and that's about the last thing, and that was about a year ago. that's the last thing we know that adam lanza did. did he have any proclivity towards violence? not that anybody can see. he had no police record. people who know nancy lanza said they saw no sign of violence. if anything, one friend said today he was a vegan, that he
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expressed moral objections to killing animals that he would eat. so, you know, looking for any kind of pattern here that would explain what happened last friday so far has not yielded anything that adds up, and we also learned, we've been told, that the computer where he spent
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so many hours in his room was damaged before this attack. he actually removed the hard drive. so hopes of finding some writings that he might have done on the computer so far has not yielded anything public. now, police lieutenant vance said they have seized significant evidence in the house. they haven't -- he hasn't told us what it is, but he did say today that it's going to be months before we get a report from the state police that pulls together all the evidence and might shed some light on what continues to be a very big mystery. >> michael, you're the best. thank you for joining us to tell us what's going on. we're going to keep checking back with you as you continue investigating. much more, by the way, on this horrific tragedy in newtown, connecticut, in a moment, including whether new gun laws could curb gun violence in the country we all live in. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
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we're back. in the wake of the friday horrific massacre up in connecticut, a number of gun rights advocates have argued that the problem isn't that there are too many semiautomatic weapons in society. the problem, they say, is that there weren't enough armed people on site to challenge the killer. here is what larry pratt, the executive director of gun owners of america, wrote this morning in "usa today." in addition to the gunman, blood is on the hands of members of congress and the connecticut legislators who voted to ban guns from all schools in connecticut and most other states. they are the ones who made it illegal to defend oneself with a
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gun in a school when that is the only effective way of resisting a gunman. is he right? larry pratt joins us right now. he's joined on the other side of the table by david chipman, who is in the group called mayors against illegal guns, a former atf agent. first of all, let's imagine my same question i asked about 9/11, how do we stop it from happening again, exactly what happened on friday, larry? >> nothing is 100%, but certainly if teachers and janitors and principals were able to defend themselves --
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>> with guns? >> with guns -- >> you would arm teachers? >> i would allow teachers and other adults in the schools who can qualify for a concealed carry permit to be able to go into the school like they go into just about every other place in our country once they have those permits. but we've said, no, no, no there's something really special and who knows what about those schools, and teachers can't be
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trusted with a gun there is. we're not going to let them do that. every one of our mass murders in the last decade with one exception was at a gun-free zone. >> which is where you're not supposed to bring guns. you say if the teachers were allowed to carry a gun or janitors or a hired watchman even would be good. >> might have had a chance. better than sitting like fish in a barrel.
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>> david, what's your reaction? the kind of thing going on rather relentlessly in this country, mass shootings. >> the first step is to make sure anyone buying a gun passes a background check -- >> but the mother would have passed the background check. the kid shot her in the face so he could have her guns. >> i think what we would stop is
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other people and other scenarios -- >> this scenario, this thing from happening again. how would you stop it? if it happens tomorrow morning, a crazy kid goes after his mother's gun, kills her, grabs
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the gun, heads to school, and shoots a bunch of people. >> i don't believe guns is the answer. >> you can't answer my question. >> i believe i can. >> how do you stop it from happening again? >> i believe that you stop it again with reasonable legislation and empowering our law enforcement to protect people. that is my belief. and as -- >> how -- let's get particular. >> okay. >> which law enforcement officials were on site at the elementary school where all the shooting happened on friday? would there be a policeman on site? >> anybody -- i read the reports on this. you have to be qualified. there's a whole rule you have to go through -- >> concealed carriers are qualified. they've taken preparations. >> let me -- >> these laws say they can't be in schools. >> david, this gentleman here primarily -- i know because i have it in my family -- primarily believes that the purpose of the right to bear arms is to defend yourself against a popular elected government. that's what they believe. they don't fear seven days military coup taking over, they mean the government they have to hold off.
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>> let's be very clear, what he means is me. i was one of those people for 25 years, and i was in texas when i heard on a radio someone said the way to solve this nation's problems was to shoot me in the head as an atf agent, and after that we had a president of the united states retire from the nra. he wouldn't take it anymore. a line had been crossed. i don't believe most americans believe that. i mean, i believe, and i think most americans do, that law enforcement is here as a force of good, and we're the good guys, and that's what we saw in newtown, and so when we get rhetoric like i'm hearing right now, i think this is extremely fringe. i believe that most americans
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believe otherwise. >> well, anybody that worked in a gun control agency would naturally think that people that want to own their guns under the second amendment is fringe. that's how far to the left and -- >> when do you decide when the government has done wrong with your gun? >> when they steal elections -- >> who stole an election? [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso.
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with time running out now to get a deal in place before the fiscal cliff is overrun, some signs of optimism on friday. john boehner went further than in the past. it would include raising the tax
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rates on people with incomes over a million dollars. on sunday, it was reported that he would be willing to raise the debt ceiling as part of it. mother jones, of course, msnbc political analyst. i'm going to go to joy. i think you're more optimistic. i see you're smiling there. i'm looking at these numbers it looks like boehner is talking a trillion dollars, but mainly the very rich, over a million dollars a year. not over $250,000 a year, the president wants to do. and he's also talking about getting rid of some deductions. the president sticking to 1.4 in revenues. is that something that can be
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bridged by simple arithmetic? >> well, you know what, i think it's very important that john boehner has conceded the fact that rates have to go up period. i think that's important. i don't think a million is going to be enough on the revenue side. >> you mean a trillion? >> no, i mean doing it on people's incomes over a million. i don't think that's going to be enough. the principle that's at work here is not that we just want to raise the rates on 400,000 families. but that the rates need to go up. i think the $250,000 is where the president needs to stay. i think we're at a moment in our politics where nobody wants to go to the mat fighting over rich people's taxes. >> well, let me ask you about two of those points. do you think the fact that boehner broke and said we have to raise the rates for somebody, is that important? >> it's important. but in able to do that, to sell
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to his own caucus? that's really the key here that doesn't trigger a rebellion against him. he's going to have to get something big back. there's talk about getting big concessions from obama on medicare. and then you go back to the democrats.
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wait a second, these tax rates are going up anyway. why should we give up medicare, raising the eligibility age which is terrible policy in order to get what we're going to get anyway. >> so an intangible question. do you think the horror that we've been living the last several days -- you don't want to look like the bad guy, i think. >> i think that will make a short term deal more likely. but whether it gets to the heart of the issue about what you do with the debt ceiling. if boehner gives tax breaks in any degree to the president, i don't know how he keeps his caucus in line. they want to fight on something. >> i've got a sense the
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president has a plan here. i think he's cool hand luke in this one. he's got a series of this week we did this, this week we'll squeeze a little harder. and then we finally cut a deal when they've given up.
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let me finish tonight with this. i'm hopeful about the cliff, the fiscal cliff. i'm hopeful that the president can get the change in the top rate and we can get a balanced plan to cut the growth in the
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national debt. i think getting an agreement would be a powerful catalyst for boosting business confidence in this country, getting some real power behind this economic recovery i'm also hopeful we can use this success on the deal between obama and boehner to do some positive deals in 2013. if they can deal with this, they can deal with all sorts of issues. let's hope they get the deal this week. that it's a fair deal. and, yes, it's the start of something big. i'm a guy who believes in government, who believes in winning, who believes in this country's ability to govern itself. to be honest with you, i simply want to be confirmed in my belief. it's tough some days. that's "hardball" for now. politics nation with al sharpton starts right now. >> thanks, chris. and thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, we will have to change. the president's solemn words last night addressing a town in mourning and a nation in grief. the question to all of us is if we don't change now, then when do we change? today, newtown laid to rest two 6-year-olds, killed in friday's last shooting. and as we see the funerals of 25 more victims in the coming days, we all have to ask ourselves are good evening, americans. welcome to "the ed show" from new york. the tragedy in newtown connecticut is galvanizing americans. it's no lodger acceptable to hide behind the second amendment. >> these tragedies must end. to end them, we must change. >> the president calls for change in the wake of a massacre. tonight, how voters can make their voices louder than the gun lobbies. >> this myth that the nra can destroy political careers is just not true.
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>> the nra's power is so vastly overrated. >> plus, the fact about the nra's power. mayor michael bloomberg's right hand power. will real america come around on common sense gun laws? >> john nichols on the conservative push to keep common sense gun laws out of the middle of the country. plus, republican obstacles to reduce violence with jonathan and alex wagner. and dr. gail saultz on the role mental health professionals need to play to reduce the violence. >> no single law. no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. but that can't be an excuse for an action.